THE United States would seek minerals for its decarbonisation effort from ally countries rather than from domestic mining firms, said Reuters citing a source in President Joe Biden’s administration.
The news is a blow to US miners but represents the US government’s intention to focus job creation on the processing facilities that turn minerals into parts used in the manufacture of electric vehicles (EVs), for instance.
“It’s not that hard to dig a hole,” Reuters cited a government source as having said. “What’s hard is getting that stuff out and getting it to processing facilities. That’s what the US government is focused on.”
Such a plan would help cut US reliance on industry leader China for EV materials while also enticing unions with manufacturing work and, in theory, reduce pandemic-fueled unemployment, said Reuters.
The US Commerce Department is organizing a June conference to attract more EV manufacturing to the country, said Reuters. Biden’s proposed $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan earmarks $174bn to boost the domestic EV market with tax credits and grants for battery manufacturers, among other incentives.
“President Biden is focused on seizing the EV market, sourcing and manufacturing the supply chain here in America, and creating good-paying, union jobs,” said Ali Zaidi, the deputy White House national climate adviser.
The US government in April became the largest shareholder in mining investment firm TechMet, which controls a Brazilian nickel project, a Rwandan tungsten mine and is a major investor in a Canadian battery recycler, said Reuters.
Washington also funds research into Canadian cobalt projects and rare earths projects in Malawi, among other international investments.